South Africa v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 1st day January 3, 2012

Kallis, Petersen pound feeble Sri Lanka


Stumps South Africa 347 for 3 (Kallis 159*, Petersen 109, de Villiers 45*) v Sri Lanka
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Alviro Petersen made a memorable return to Test cricket, and Jacques Kallis enjoyed his new-found batting freedom as South Africa made a merry mockery of Sri Lanka's decision to bowl at Newlands. Kallis had a sense of occasion, converting his 114-ball century into a 150-plus score in his 150th Test. His first ton against Sri Lanka, and his first in a year, was all the more significant since it silenced murmurs of failing form following the first pair of his glittering career, in Durban.

Kallis' century reaffirmed his love affair with Cape Town, a venue where he now has nine Test hundreds and over 2000 runs. But one man who might be happier with his day's work is Petersen, whose fluency during his second Test ton glossed over the fact that he was returning to the side after a year. The pair's dominance yielded 205 runs in under 50 overs, and negated any advantage Sri Lanka had gained from Dhammika Prasad's early breaches.

Regardless of the ease with which South Africa progressed, there was merit in Sri Lanka's call to bowl; their historic win in Durban did not mask their problems against pace and bounce, and was founded upon South Africa's own abject batting display. Dilshan's decision shielded his weaker suit, and gave his seamers the mandate to attack South Africa in marginally helpful weather. He was, however, let down by a sketchy plan of action, and conditions that quickly played into the batsmen's hands. Sri Lanka were too full in the first hour, too short in the second, and all over the place in the afternoon, before tightening their act after tea.

In between-times, though, Prasad managed to hit the in-between lengths. His ability to ramp the pace up to 140 kph - a rare feat in an attack missing Dilhara Fernando - earned him success against Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla. Both batsmen began well, but perished to familiar failings - Smith chopped on while attempting a reckless cut, and Amla was trapped in front as he walked across the stumps. Amla consulted with Petersen, and rightly chose not to review the decision. That wasn't the only instance of Petersen's solid judgement in his comeback innings.

A couple of early drives down the ground and a nudge through square leg signalled that Petersen had carried his domestic form into the big league. Thereafter, he built steadily, before summoning the spirit to thrash Prasad over square leg for a six. He brought up his fifty with a brace of boundaries against Thisara Perera, before receding into the background.

Kallis came out throwing punches in all directions, reminiscent of his half-century against Australia in the recent Johannesburg Test. He nearly pulled his fourth ball straight to fine-leg, where Chanaka Welegedara inexplicably didn't go for the catch. Another pull off Angelo Mathews spiralled towards midwicket and landed safe. Encouraged, Mathews persisted with the short stuff, and Kallis pounded him into pulp with a raft of murderous pulls in front of square. Sri Lanka had missed their chance to nip him out early, and Kallis proceeded to enjoy himself.

Sri Lanka's discipline faltered dramatically after lunch. The early-morning moisture had evaporated, and with it all traces of sideways movement. Kallis rushed to his fifty off just 42 balls, and went on to expose their lack of pace, and Rangana Herath's lack of spin on the first-day surface. A 21-over phase without a single maiden suggested Sri Lanka's afternoon could not get any worse, but it did when they wasted both their reviews in desperation.

Petersen's signature shot was easily the straight drive, a shot he executed with an assured forward step and exemplary timing. Kallis, on the other hand, went on to produce shots of immense beauty in every direction. The punchy pulls gave way to picture-perfect cover drives and sublime straight hits, but the stroke that stood out was an astonishing whipped on-drive from the line of off stump when Thisara Perara was looking to angle one across defensively.

That shot came after Petersen's fall, sucked into an uppish drive by a Welegedara slower ball. The run-rate dropped below four for the first time in the 66th over, with de Villiers struggling to deal with Welegedara's offcutters. Having batted out of his comfort zone all day, Kallis seamlessly shifted into accumulation mode and chugged past 150. The stand was worth 86 by stumps, leaving Sri Lanka wondering if they had lost the Test even before it had started.

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • big_al_81 on January 4, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    @ Night Fury. Tendulkar is one of the all-time greats, no question. But if you want to make the comparison a little fairer (and I think you make some impressive points) you shouldn't forget that an incredible number of Ponting's matches were while he had the pressure of captaincy, and that Tendulkar has played 26 more matches than Ponting. But, really, they're both true greats of the game. Also, why is your comment here rather than on the India vs Australia pages?

  • dummy4fb on January 4, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    @Nemooneh: Do you know what is sarcasm and unwanted scorn? It is what you guys were handing out to the SA commentators in droves after the Durban Test. Hordes of it piling in. If you dish it out so generously, be prepared to take some when it comes back. (Tony Greig! LOL!)

  • Night_Fury on January 4, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    India is going down the drains in this match. But cannot understand why ppl always compare Sachin and Ponting. No one can match Sachin. Did some analysis and will want to share:- Sachin has scored 43% of his 100s in India compared to 55% of Ponting's 100 in AUS. Sachin has scored 6 tons against AUS in AUS while Ponting has made only 1 against IND in IND. Sachin has scored 4 and 5 tons against ENG and SA in there country contrary to Pontings 4 & 3 against ENG and SA. Considering ASHES is a 5 test series seems bit low. Sachin has scored 35% of his conturies in Non-Sub continent countries whereas Ponting has scored only 12.5% of his in subcontinent. Sachin scored 11 of his centuries against AUS and considering the kind of bowling attack AUS had, i cannot find any other player who did this. The only reason sachin's achievements are shadowed because the other 10 players never contributes. Look at this series only for wht i am saying. We are privileged to watch his batting.

  • big_al_81 on January 4, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    The two Test matches currently in progress prove that to win Tests consistently, especially overseas, requires a strong bowling attack. Yes, you can draw without one and yes, you can win the occasional match when your opponents have a bad session or two or have a total brain freeze (witness the last test between SL and SA or England's one Ashes defeat last winter) but to WIN consistently, you need good bowlers and neither SL nor India have them. It is baffling that SL are playing several sub-standard seamers while a perfectly good spinner is absent in Mendis. There's no point trying to compete in one area if you don't have the resources. Herath and Mendis should both play. That's where the limited bowling strength is at present for SL.

  • dummy4fb on January 4, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    Kallis is the best all-rounder of all times and he still have a lot more to offer

  • gimme-a-greentop on January 4, 2012, 8:19 GMT

    Couldn't agree with Dean Frenkel more about Ajantha Mendis. Just because batsmen can pick his carrom ball a bit better doesn't make him an unthreatening bowler, especially against non-subcontinent teams. The reason he has 'disappeared' after his brilliant first season is that these incompetent Sri Lankan selectors (think how Thilan almost wasn't even in this test squad) never flippin' select him! the world cup final selection was a joke. His economy rate for the tournament was 3. something!

  • Nemooneh on January 4, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    It is a good day for SA, but SL had not batted yet, I am amazed at the sarcasm, and unwanted scorn the South African commentators are pouring upon the Sri Lankan team, who thrashed the living day lights out of SA in the last test!! Any team can have a bad day! But the highly biased comments the SA commentators are making is making a mockery out of this noble game!! Commentators are supposed to be neutral, and make those who listen to their commentary, enjoy the game and learn about the game,take Tony Grieg, Bill Lawry,Danny Morrison,Ravi Shastry, Sanjaya Manjerka, they are quality commentators; Learn from them,and do your job properly!!

    I agree with writer on non selection of a quality bowler like Ajantha Mendis, which baffles me,Tissara Perera has over stayed his presence, but team selection is such a thankless job, when things go wrong, all pounces on the selectors!! When things are ok nobody even notice them, how unfair,please dont right off Dilshan, he's a very bold Captain.

  • dummy4fb on January 4, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    hey guys why u all are crticzng Indian cricket an indian bt am a gr8 fan of Proteas. I want India to beat its nt going to hpn...looking at the way how india is playing rt nw i think its goin to be another 4 - 0 defeat for India. there is only 1 team tat can stop australia from reaching the No 1 spot. Its SAf....there is no doubt abt tat.

  • Irfan_Pakistani on January 4, 2012, 6:26 GMT

    wonder, how did Sri Lanka out Killas two times in Durban on a duck......Sri Lankans r u missing magic of all time King Murli ?

  • Drinkscarrier on January 4, 2012, 6:21 GMT

    Sri Lanka won the toss and promptly gambled it away , hoping their bowlers to gain early wickets but it wasn't to be . However if the likes of Mahela and Sangakkara can bat their way out out of this predicament and fight for a draw all will not be lost.

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